Vigilantes in a village in northern Nigeria have killed dozens of Boko Haram militants, according to local reports.
The attacks came nearly a month after the terror group abducted almost 300 schoolgirls and a few days after Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the ultra-conservative Islamist group, warned he will not release the hostages unless the government frees some of its prisoners.
Residents in northern states have been forming vigilante groups to combat the militants, who kill hundreds of innocent people in deadly attacks on a regular basis. And in Kalabalge, a village about 150 miles from Borno state, residents decided to take action after learning of an imminent Boko Haram attack.
In order to repel the attack, locals ambushed two trucks with gunmen, officials said.
At least 41 militants were killed during the battle, Al Jazeera reported.
Kalabalge trader Ajid Musa told Associated Press, or AP, that after residents organized the vigilante group, "it is impossible" for terrorists to successfully stage attacks there.
"That is why most attacks by the Boko Haram on our village continued [to] fail because they cannot come in here and start shooting and killing people," he said.
Boko Haram, which opposes the westernization of Nigeria and wants to impose sharia law in the country, kidnapped almost 300 girls on April 14. About 50 of them later managed to escape, but about 220 other girls are still missing.
Several nonprofits have urged the militants to release the girls and put an end to their reign of terror in Nigeria while the U.S. announced it will send intelligence and hostage negotiation experts to help find the missing girls. The UK, France and China have also offered help.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, accused of not putting enough effort in the negotiations for rescuing the girls, has refused to sanction a prisoner exchange for the release of the kidnapped victims.
The Boko Haram leader, Shekau, has said that if the group's demands are not met, the schoolgirls will be sold in the marketplace "as willed by Allah."